Latest posts by Bookertoo

Mystery purple plant identification

Posted: 18/02/2015 at 17:55

If you make elderberry cordial with the berries, it will be the prettiest pink colour.  Looks great with lemonade or fizzy water if you want a nice drink for an occasion, that is not alcoholic.

If you keep the cordial long enough, it will become slightly alcoholic, and is still nice diluted as before.  I think the black elderberries do not flower, and thus fruit, quite as generously as the plain ones - but they are lovely with that dark serrated foliage. 

idle curiosity.....

Posted: 18/02/2015 at 17:51

I have a feeling you can't grow sweet potatoes like ordinary potatoes, so I have my doubts about that one.

 Ginger does grow well in a pot, you'll need to give it lots of warmth and light (it comes from the tropics after all), but they can make handsome indoor plants.  They won't flower here I think, but it's worth trying just for the fun of it - go for it. 

plug plants

Posted: 18/02/2015 at 17:49

No, you do not put them in the garden straight away - though doubtless the company would love you to do that, so that you can buy them all over again April - May, when they should be sold.  You will need to keep them warm, repot them into slightly larger pots, then again later on,  water and coddle them for several weeks before you can even think about outdoors for such little babies.  I've not even sown my seeds yet, never mind have plug plants ready to pot on.

I'm sorry, but I really think this is just a cynical ploy on the part of the vendors to get your money out of you twice!!

If you have a greenhouse, or huge warm light windowsills, and time to deal with lots of baby plants, then go ahead - if they all do well it will have been a bargain indeed. 

Wrong plants sent by mail order

Posted: 17/02/2015 at 16:25

I really don't know how they still get away with it after all the years I've read complaints on here - are people not complaining to them?  Or is it lots of new gardeners who are getting conned, and then think - probably wrongly - that they can't garden, or they did something wrong?  Baffles me to read this every year. 

Wrong plants sent by mail order

Posted: 17/02/2015 at 14:57

Bakkers and Parkers both lie all the time!  Their catalogues go straight in the bin, and I would not buy from them if their plants were free!  Rotten iris, wrong plants, dead plugs - had 'em all!   Stick to reputable companies - and there are some very good ones out there - and you won't be disappointed.  Specialist nurseries are invaluable if you want a particular type of plant, as they grow only a few types and give them all their attention.

Sorry about you mishaps, but learn this time, don't use them again!!

Daffodil bunch from shop

Posted: 14/02/2015 at 11:25

Often, although not always, the white ones are very perfumed - have you tried.

I grow the white ones next to our path for that reason, but they won't be flowering yet. 

Favorite apple

Posted: 03/02/2015 at 17:37

Apple days are wonderful, well worth the visit wherever you are.  Also you will get guidance as to what does/does not grow well in your area.  Plus you get to taste all sorts of apples, and different ways of cooking them - yum.

Kilmarnock Willow

Posted: 01/02/2015 at 18:11

Hmm, which large plant were you considering - doubt it will fit in a hosta, the roots….

Oh you meant a large plant pot didn't you?  Yes, you can, and I have,  As I always say in answer to any question that starts 'can I grow it in a pot', the answer is always 'yes', but you have then to do everything for the plant that it would do for itself in the ground.  As we have 400+ pots in our garden, this means no summer breaks longer than 3 days - no. I'm not suggesting anyone else goes down this route, only saying you can grow anything in a pot if you put enough effort into it.  The willow will need a large pot, you will probably put it into  increasingly larger pots as it grows till you reach the point where you do not want to go further.  A thick layer of gravel on the top of the compost helps to keep moisture in, and weeds out - besides improving the appearance.  You will need to feed and water it well, keep it entirely weed free, and find the correct type of position in your garden for the pot.  I kept mine in a pot for around 8 years, then gave it to someone who wanted to transfer it to the ground - don't know if it survived the change, they don't always as a different root system is grown in a pot than in the sol. 

You will need to use a loam based compost for weight, with something like perlite or vermiculite in it to aid drainage.  You will need to prune it carefully to keep it in shape - but you can have a lovely plant at the end of it all. 

Favorite apple

Posted: 29/01/2015 at 20:18

I love  'James Grieve ', but there are so many good apples.  Much depends where you live, when the late frosts might be, and - maybe the most important - what kind of apples do you like to eat?  Do you only want eating apples, or would you lie cooking apples too?  

When Should I be planting my seeds?

Posted: 29/01/2015 at 20:11

Seed potatoes are especially treated to be just that, eating spuds are not a good idea to use for growing more spuds.

Much depends upon where you live Lucy, the further north, the later the sowing time. I live in the East Midlands and will do the bulk of my sowing in late March to April - though a few things can be started now, sweet peas, broad beans etc.   Root plants, like carrots, do not want to be transplanted, so you will want to sow those where they are to grow, once the soil is warm and dry - so not yet.  

Patience is a virtue everywhere, but nowhere more so than in gardening.  Many shops sell tiny little pots of annual and basket plants very very early, knowing that people will buy them, they will die as many people do not have the place or knowledge as to how to keep them, and it is plain too soon, and then those same people will buy them again - two open purses for the price of one!! 

One warning you may not get, is that raspberries can run like mad, so be careful where you plant them - but they are the most wonderful fruit to grow, the taste of them fresh is heavenly.  Red-currants are good too, they make the most wonderful sauces, look stunning on the shrub and need very little care.  Blueberries are great too, but do need ericaceous compost - many folk grow them in large pots. 

Do enjoy what you do, try not to take on too much at first, little and often is a good way to go - if you try to do everything at once you may wear yourself out and feel overwhelmed.  Give it time and enjoy it all. 


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